Salsa > Partnering Question for Women(or anyone)

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Marvellous, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Okay, ladies. I have this interesting problem that I have encountered recently and I would like some input. During my year or more of dancing, I have experienced many "incompatibility" problems, but not this one. I have been taking lessons with a particular girl for many months. On a scale of one to ten, in terms of how we get along in the lesson, I would say it is a 10. To be honest, I think there is mutual attraction between us, and as for dancing in the lesson I would say it is a 10 also. We dance perfectly and comfortably together during the lesson, and we sometimes compliment each other on how awesome the other is to dance with.

    Until recently though, I never danced with her outside of lessons, for a variety of reasons. One reason being that I had had a confidence problem for a while and basically made it a rule not to dance with the better women. I spend most of my time helping the real beginners and general beginner level women. Recently, I decided that I have to move up "the food chain" and start dancing with some women who are more capable, since I felt that I was hindering my development be dancing with beginners only, who cannot do even half of what I want to be doing.

    So, I ask this women to dance one night and I could not believe her reaction. She almost fell off her stool. Literally, I thought she was going to be sick. I didn't know whether she was going to faint or throw up on me. So, finally she recovers and we dance. It didn't go to bad, but she was laughing and giggling a lot. Since then, I have asked her to dance a few times, and every time it seems to get worse. She continues to give me the strangest expression when I ask her to dance. She doesn't seem too excited by the whole deal, and when we dance it does not really go well to say the least. She definitely lacks her usual competence and does not seem to be comfortable, which causes me to not be comfortable. Thus, needless to say, things do not go too well. The last time I danced with her, I actually ended up accidently mashing her breast with my hand because she was jumping around in confusion somehow when I was trying to lead something.

    Anyway, I have asked only one female friend who dances salsa about this and her theory was that it could possibly indicate that the girl actually really likes me or has a crush on me. My friend claims that the last guy in the world she wants to dance with is a guy that she likes, because she says she absolutely cannot dance with him. Does this sound reasonable to anyone? Any other ideas or suggestions? Any input would be appreciated.
  2. jon

    jon Member

    If you want to know what this person thinks about you, just ask her. Speculation from random people on the net is not going to give you useful answers.
  3. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I second that.
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    First things first folks... welcome to the Forums Marvellous! :D

    As far as your particular situation I'll third this motion.

    As far as the *general* dynamic in question, yes, dancing with, or in front of, someone who's opinion is important to you can definatly be the cause of a lot of awkwardness.
  5. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Well, for one thing, to clarify, I am not exactly asking for "random speculation" as to how this women feels about me. Obviously, nobody knows that except for her. I want to know whether what my women friend told me would be common or not for women. Furthermore, I want to knwo whether anyone has any other suggestions for why there would be such a big difference between dancing with someone in a lesson and outside a lesson. Usually, the two go together for me; women whom I can't stand dancing with in a lesson, I can't stand dancing with outside a lesson, and vice versa.

    As for my particular case, I may indeed speak to this women about the problem, but I don't think it will allow me to figure it out anyway. I live in Japan, and have for years, so I pretty much know how things work culturally, if you know what I mean. I would bet money that if I ask this girl directly, I am not going to get a direct or honest answer. If this girl cannot dance with me because she has a crush on me, she is NOT going to tell me. She is also not going to tell me if my lead is bad, or whatever, either. I have already asked her for input there, and she says it is fine or great, or whatever. Whether it is or not, I don't know. It is pretty difficult/rare to get an honest answer to anything in this culture.
  6. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Thanks for the welcome! I hope to get a lot out of the forum.

  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Well now, the cultural nuances definitely do change up some of the dynamics in question, now don’t they?

    As I said above, when the opinion of someone matters to you, which certainly can compromise the comfort of a dancing situation. Because that person's opinion matters to you, you become far more self-conscious which, in turn, interferes with your dancing itself.

    Good luck with your situation and please keep us posted…
  8. jon

    jon Member

    At least in part because they aren't similar in any respect other than the physical activity you're involved in. Lessons are not a social environment, lead-follow and asking-to-dance dynamics do not exist, there is essentially no risk of rejection, etc.
  9. Danish Guy

    Danish Guy New Member

    In the class, the followers know what to expect from the leads.
    This mean they are prepared for this combination you are going to lead.
    She won’t be confused over a little unclear lead, and she knows where to end, before you lead her.

    In the club everything can happen, and those not dancing is watching. It’s a whole new ballgame.
    Even if you know she should be capable of all you cool moves, try starting slow with the basic stuff, and work up, if this functions, upgrade the level. It might be nerves, or maybe she just is better in classes. I have things that work in classes, but not outside with the same girls. :?

    If dance at classes worked out, why not dance with her outside classes?
    If you turn it around, she might have wondered why you didn’t ask her but “everybody” else to dance. And why you have this sudden interest in her now. She might think you got a sudden crush on her.

    For the giggling, no clue. :wink:
  10. Vin

    Vin New Member

    Welcome to the forums, as for your situation, I have no clue. But usually the people I am attracted to are the ones I want to dance with. But I'm a guy.
  11. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Wepa... Welcome to the forums Marvellous...

    Here are my experiences first with east asian women who mainly seem to be Japanese of the bulk of the asian dancers here in NY City, then with NY City born women. When east asian women dancers seem attracted to you they tend to trip a lot when around you, cover their mouth too much when they giggle or laugh, bend over when they make a mistake and blush to no end. Now, they aren't direct saying, I find you attractive, but they indeed, no matter how good of dancers, behave like they've just been dancing for 2 days and give all indication that there is an attraction. They want to dance with you but seem to let their emotions control their dancing. They avoid eye contact but at the same time give a timid look, they work their way around to where ever you are but keep their distance. Yet, seem to know when you’ve noticed them and if they’ve seen you enough times they’ll shyly approach you.

    NY City gals are a totally different world. The more they like you the more you'll know it. The style-er and sexier they'll dance. They'll do a lot of smiling with sparkling eyes; they'll smooth out their dancing and let themselves be taken during the dance. Yes, they'll have the usual laps but not at the degree of an east asian woman. They’ll come up to you when they see you around and will, if not ask, give you all the indications in the world that she wants to dance with YOU.

    Now, keep in mind that I’m in NY and can only speak of my experiences and observations I’ve made of the east asian salsa population, and more so, not all women from a given geographic location act and are the same under the same circumstances. This might not even fly in Japan, but I hardly doubt it, for if all the Japanese women that I know and have seen behave as such. To me it means there is an underlying cultural behavior taking place.

    Now, I can keep their bloopers to a minimum because I’m an OK lead, and tend to adjust fairly fast to a given lady. I also keep it rather simple no matter how good the lady is. She can be Josey Neglia, and as far as I am concerned, we are going to groove and flava the dance to no end. Not go into a spin and pattern battle with the egocentric couple next to us.

    Not everyone out there learns with the same instructor, hence the moves and technique can and do vary from dancer to dancer. By limiting yourself to your studio dancers you have also limited the progress of your lead. In the same studio everyone knows exactly what is going to happen next. So the chance for having a good dance amongst everyone is rather high. For one, the follower knows every move that can be thrown at her and the leader doesn’t know any other moves outside what has been taught to him. His lead is good for the followers who know what he wants, and his lead is just right for that given group of dancers. Once you are in a social environment everyone is different, hence, the greater the chances to make mistakes.

    So you are back to the beginning, either your lead isn’t where it can be, or she likes you and can’t dance because of the attraction. If you are attracted to her as well, then do the observation thingy, thingy. Watch her around her friends, around you, during the dance. Make your move only when you are comfortable enough with the situation.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi Marvellous! Welcome to the forums! :D

    Great question. Basically, what I hear you asking is whether it's normal for a girl who likes a guy to become self-conscious even giggle and act foolish in a social situation. Answer: Undoubtedly yes. That's perfectly normal. Either your social attentions are embarrassing her or she likes you. Chances are, she likes you, or I doubt she'd be giggling. If she didn't want to dance with you, she'd likely be very polite. Not giggling.

    My question for you to ponder, not necessarily answer, is do YOU like her? I know only a little about Japanese culture, but I'm pretty sure that the dating scene is a lot more flexible now that it was years ago -- even for interracial couples (I assume you're not Japanese.) I have a non-Japanese friend who lived there for a couple years and had no problem acquiring a native girlfriend in record time! :lol: So my suggestion to you is, if you like her (which is none of our business) take the next step in the Japanese dating ritual, whatever that is. Where I'm from, it would be an invitation out for coffee or lunch. Where you are, it might be different. Whatever it is, if you don't take a step, however subtle, you'll never know. Don't ask her directly, though. She'll never say. Given her culture, she can't.
  13. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Welcome to the forums! :D

    Sorry I'm late for this thread.......but it seems that you have already received quality advise from the DF family 8) !

    Ok, even though I am not Japanese I have spent the first 14 yrs in an Asian country and (being Asian-mix myself) knew about the cultral influence to a woman's behaviour.

    She probably likes you. The rest is up to you.

    So tell me, do you ask other 'better' dancers (apart from her, and the begginners of course) for a dance socially....? Maybe give that a try so she doesn't feel 'single-out'.

    This, of course, could result in one of the two : (1) she will see that you dance with different people so she won't be embarrassed to get asked. (2) she like you & might get a bit jealous that you've asked the others to dance (just observe the various signs of jealousy and you will find out whether she DOES have a crush on you!).

    Otherwise carry on as cool as you possibly could, as if nothing is happening. Things often settle themselves after a while.

    Plz keep us posted :wink: !
  14. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    :p I love this :p ! Wish more guys out there understand the sensual side of salsa :wink:
  15. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    :roll: Ain't that the truth! :roll:

    :? Being self-conscious must be one of the most hindering factors to one's dancing. :?
  16. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    That's an interesting point. I was, however, sort of sensitive to that, so at about the same time period, I also started to ask her friend to dance, who is also at the int. level, and whom I also had never been dancing with before. As for the girl in question, I only ask her once per night. Once I asked her a second time, which I don't think is extreme in the environment I am in, but she refused, saying she was tired, then one minute later she was dancing with someone else. I have had this sort of thing happen before with other women, by the way. Maybe it is some sort of indication that there is something undesirable about dancing with me???
  17. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Thanks so much for the input. My situation seems to be getting worse, rather than better. I can handle the giggling and a bit of awkwardness, such as the first time I asked her to dance, but since that time there is no giggling. She just seems uncomfortable or something, and of course the dance seems to not go so well. For now, I am not bothering to ask her to dance.

    "Not everyone out there learns with the same instructor, hence the moves and technique can and do vary from dancer to dancer. By limiting yourself to your studio dancers you have also limited the progress of your lead....[/quote]"

    Valid points that you made above. In this case, we have been taking the same lessons together for months. As for my lead in general, I do worry about it's development. Fortunately, I think I am in a better position than "studio only" dancers. Most lessons here are at clubs, so I take lessons at the club twice a week and then we dacne after. Since it is a club, I also dance with women that do not study from my teacher. The interesting thing is, some of my favorite women to dance with do not study with my teacher, and probably never have. I am aware of "the studio" problem". I started at a studio for about 3 months. Sometiimes I still meet up with women from that time, who are still "studio women" and they seem to not have developed at all from about one year ago. Maybe they have "developed", but for any guy that is not a lifer at their studio, there is no evidence of it. If the guy(lead) does not come from their studio circle, they appear to be semi-hopeless beginners.

    "So you are back to the beginning, either your lead isn’t where it can be, or she likes you and can’t dance because of the attraction. If you are attracted to her as well, then do the observation thingy, thingy. Watch her around her friends, around you, during the dance. Make your move only when you are comfortable enough with the situation.[/quote]"

    I am definitely doing a lot of observation, but it is tough. Things are definitely uncomfortable and weird between us, but I simply cannot figure out whether it is her reaction to being attracted to me, or her reaction to being creeped out by me(not that I think she really has an excuse to be creeped out by me, but women here can be really immature and their is often cross-cultural misunderstanding.)
  18. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Good points. I have taken to not asking her to dance, and actually ask a lot of women to dance who are very near her, or actually talking to her, so that she does not have to feel that I am giving her too much "social attention". I am trying to make it obvious to her that I dance with many different women, so that she does not have to feel that I am especially after her.
  19. Marvellous

    Marvellous New Member

    Thanks a lot for your input. I don't have a lot of options for other "better" dancers, but I did think of that, so I have also started asking one other one who is basically her "friend" I guess. Not making her feel "singled-out" was exactly what my strategy was. As for your point (1), I am making a big effort in that department. I ask a lot of women to dance who are very near her, or actually talking to her, so I think I am making it very obvious that I dance with many different women. As for point (2), that is tough. Maybe I am not good at recognizing the signs of jealously. WHAT ARE THEY? This woman seems to be highly inscrutable. I am having trouble finding any "signs" from her that I understand. In other cases, I don't have much trouble. For example, I often have 1 or 2 women in my dance scene that I think have some sort of "thing" for me. I will notice a few things from them: 1) They will be watching me a lot(sometimes out of the corner of their eye) when I am dancing with another women, especially if I and that women dance well together. 2) Some will actually be glaring at me and/or partner maybe, if I am dancing with a woman and seem to be having a good time. 3) If some woman is being a bit flirtatious with me, and giving me some kind of signs in a lesson, I will notice that the one that has a "thing" for me will be glaring at the woman in hostility as if she wants to come and wring her neck! It's almost scary, but amusing too!

    Anyway, I don't know what I am going to do. Things feel uncomfortable between myself and this woman. This is not good I think, because we are in the same room 2 nights a week. I figure I have two options: 1) Take your advice, dance with many women, and just hope that the whole thing goes away. The problem is, I don't think it will ever "go away", since I want to be dancing with this woman, but right now it seems that I cannot do that. 2) have a little chat with her, though I don't know whether that will get me anywhere, because I highly doubt I will get anything honest out of her with regards to what the problem is. I don't know what is going on in her head, so I am thinking of letting her know that I have begun dancing with her and her friend because I am worried about my lead/dancing, and I want their input. This is partly true, but it is not the only reason that I want to be dancing with her.
  20. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Oh, boy, I’m sorry to hear that things haven’t gotten better… It might just be time to take a breather, give her some room and concentrate on your dancing with other people until you feel better about the situation or causes her to have the Jealous reaction salsachinita is talking about and bang, you have your answer…

    You have hit the nail in the head. Speaking of girls at the moment just to get a point across. Girls who are strictly studio dancers and are beginning to dance have a very limited skill set. They have been taught steps, rules, moves, how leads feel and so on. However, the haven’t really experienced dancing outside of what the norm is outside their studio, hence, as good as they are following the studios set patterns, they’ll be oppositely bad following anything outside their knowledge. The reason is that they have only begun to learn to the skill of good following. The addition of timing, nervousness, the club atmosphere, and a different move causes them to forget about the following and go into “panic mode”.

    It is all about experience with leading and following. The more you do it the better you become. When you dance with someone who knows less than you, instead of concentrating on how she can’t do what you want. Concentrate on your lead, feel her dancing, get to know your lead the best you can. See how different things help you better than others, just because the instructor says something it doesn’t mean that it is the absolute rule to follow. See what works best for you. Try to be as simple as you can while dancing, yet guide her through the works of your lead. Before you know it your lead will make her do those moves that you thought she couldn’t do. Every time you dance make it a habit to work on your lead and not the move, break the combo patterns up and work the lead..... WEPA... Your lead will be a sight of desire in no time... :D :D

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